City of North Vancouver mayor Darrell Mussatto, who is also chair of Metro Vancouver’s utilities committee, noted that the region is trying to be proactive — water restrictions could begin as early as May 1 in 2018, compared with the current May 15, which is consistent with predictions for climate change.
“We are taking this report seriously,” he said.
A regional study is also looking at the pros and cons of residential water metering. Longer-term solutions may include deepening of the intake at Coquitlam reservoir and raising the height of the Seymour dam to create more storage capacity for drier periods.
There is potential for irrigated farming to increase from 15,000 hectares to 35,000 in Metro Vancouver, he said, but new infrastructure will have to be built.
The regional government currently supplies water to less than 470 hectares — most greenhouses on a metered system. That leaves farmers to use their own wells or surface water sources, including from the Fraser River pumped from ditches.
“Irrigation systems will have to become more efficient and also managed properly to make sure water taken and applied is beneficial and not wasted,” he said.
Reduced flows on the Fraser combined with rising ocean levels will allow salt to expand its reach upriver to Pattullo Bridge by 2050, he added.
“Water will have to be drawn between tide cycles and there is no guarantee that sufficient water will be available.”
Raising Dam heights and lowering water Intakes might work for the medium-term. But if we're talking about a Metro Vancouver Water system that extends from West Vancouver to Chilliwack, we might need a bit more water than upgrading the existing dams would offer.
Is a potential option- pristine, and not really used for anything other than fishing. It's far away from anything, (the only way to get to it is via forest Service roads, and it's closest to Harrison Hot Springs), and it's too small without building a dam of some sort.
I don't think it's particularly worth it.
Harrison and Stave are potential options- running out of water is highly unlikely, and would thus remove the likelihood of requiring any water restrictions into the future.
However, there are major quality issues here- at Stave due to Miracle Valley, and at Harrison, because of Harrison Hot Springs.
There were plans for a series of Run-of-river dams in Upper Pitt, but no news stories have come out since 2008- back when run-of-river was booming in BC. It seems to be dead, so I'm ignoring it.
The only real two solutions are a new dam, or using Alouette Lake.
There are two areas of concern in Alouette- first, Alouette is connected to Stave Lake by a water tunnel- supposedly to manage water levels. This would be permanently blocked off.
Alouette is also a recreational lake. Recreational facilities could be moved to Indian Arm, Stave Lake, and Pinecone Burke.
However, a significant amount of cash must be injected into the Provincial park system, either from Metro Van, or the Province, to do so. Keep in mind the BC Provincial Parks Picnicking facilities in the Fraser Valley are already crowded and underfunded.
Moving them would thus be an extra cost that cannot be absorbed elsewhere in the government.
A new dam would be extremely far from Metro Vancouver, however. The good sites have already been dammed.